Opening of the exhibition József Rippl-Rónai, First Master of Hungarian Modern Painting
As part of the international cultural collaboration programme of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia, on April 20 the exhibition József Rippl-Rónai, First Master of Hungarian Modern Painting was opened in the Modern Gallery. The exhibition, devised and created by Melinda Géger, János Horváth and Biserka Rauter-Plančić, director of the Gallery, was produced in association with the Rippl-Rónai Museum of Káposvar and presents more than seventy of the artist’s best known works, oil paintings and pastels from the holdings of that museum.
During the vernissage, the invited guests were addressed by the mayor of Kaposvar, Károly Szita, by the Minister of Culture of the Republic of Croatia, Dr Nina Obuljen Koržinek and by the Hungarian Ministry of Human Resources, Dr Zoltán Balog. The director of the Modern Gallery, Biserka Rauter Plančić, said: Since the great retrospective show with which the MG and Professor Maković demonstrated the innovativeness of Kraljević and his epoch-making contribution to Croatian art of the 20th century we have been endeavouring to expand the perception of the great figures of European artistic modernism – and hence with the Rippl-Rónai exhibition, created by Melinda Géger and Janos Horváth, we want to draw attention to how congruent their developments were and highlight the equally crucial meaning of this master for Hungarian painting of the modern age. The paintings on show mostly witness to Rippl-Rónai’s development from his arrival in Paris, or rather, from his absorption of the stimuli that made it essential for him to leave the Munkácy studio in Paris, his work that was characterised by Art Déco and that was marked by numerous prizes from the Paris Salon, his working stay in Maillol’s Catalan homeland, and his final return to his homeland in 1902, his prolific work in Káposvar and Budapest up to 1925. It is this Káposvar segment of the master’s oeuvre, with paintings of vivid, strident colours from the so called “maize” cycle, that revolutionised the theory and practice of Hungarian visual art, imparting to it the basis for Cubist, Abstract and other avant-garde aspirations of the generations of Hungarian painters of the first half of the 20th century. Both Rippl-Ronai and Kraljević crucially contributed to the realignment of Hungarian or Croatian painting away from Munich in the direction of Paris. This change opened up the way in Hungarian painting of the 1920s to the acceptance of Fauvism, and in Croatian, of Expressionism.
Foto: Goran Vranić copyright Moderna galerija, Zagreb, 2018.